Italians are rejoicing over the news that Mercedes-Benz CEO Dieter Zetsche has made it clear that the German car manufacturer is not interested in acquiring more of MV Agusta’s private stock.
Talking at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit though, Zetsche said “we had a past experience of cross-marketing with Ducati that was promising, but the company was acquired by Audi and the experiment ended.”
“We now have a new partnership with MV Agusta, a very prestigious brand,” the Mercedes CEO continued. “Again, we have established a cross-branding strategy between AMG and MV Agusta and we believe that the two brands are complementary. However, to avoid what happened with Ducati we point out that we have no intention to take over the business or produce motorcycles. MV Agusta can do it better than us.”
The comment is a mixed bag for MV Agusta, as brand enthusiasts will enjoy the Italian brand remaining Italian owned. However, it should always be taken with interest when a minority owner of a company refuses to acquire more of its previous investment.
Mercedes-AMG got a very good deal in MV Agusta, if the rumored deal price is true, and the German company has relatively little risk in its current marketing and technology sharing arrangement with MV Agusta. That’s a position that Mercedes won’t want to change anytime soon.
The Italian company’s future still remains shaky, and much work remains to be done to bring MV Agusta from a boutique brand to international player. The motorcycle company seems to have the right plan in place for the next few years, now we’ll see if they can execute it — a position Mercedes likely shares.